Alexander the Great: Ruler of Courage

Alexander the Great.

Alexander the Great mosaic, Pompeii, Italy. (Image: via Public Domain)

Alexander the Great, also known as Alexander III of Macedonia or the ruler of most extraordinary courage, was a Macedonian monarch who overthrew the Persian empire, led Macedonian soldiers to India, and laid the framework for the Hellenistic world of territorial kingdoms.

Having already been the subject of incredible legends during his lifetime, he became the hero of full-fledged mythology with only the flimsiest relation to his actual career.

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Receive selected content straight into your inbox.

His formative years

The story of Alexander the Great comes from an ancient studies course, Famous Men of Greece, which is a collection of stories drawn from history and myth; it’s excellent for any student or teacher of classical history in grades 5 through 7.

Before becoming king, the great Alexander was a student. When Alexander reached the age of 12, Philip sent him to Aristotle to learn. This knowledgeable tutor taught Alexander about medicine, philosophy, morals, logic, and art. Above all, he learned to value Homer’s works, notably the Iliad.

As a result of the influence of this ancient Greek story, the young Alexander came to idealize the legendary Achilles as the ultimate embodiment of a daring warrior-king.

Alexander the Great's conquest at the height of his empire.
Alexander the Great’s conquest at the height of his empire. (Image: via Wikipedia)

The height of his empire

Alexander the Great governed Macedonia from 336 B.C. to 323 B.C., amassing a large empire ranging from the Balkans to modern-day Pakistan.

During his reign, Alexander the Great had a significant impact on his time and sent ripples into the future. “In a 13-year reign, Alexander shot across the Greek and Middle Eastern firmament like a meteor, transforming whatever he — often brutally — touched and ensuring the ancient world, and eventually our world, would never be the same again,” All About History magazine’s Paul Cartledge (A.G. Leventis professor of Greek culture at Cambridge University) wrote.

Alexander’s achievements also made him a legend and an inspiration to future generations. “Alexander the Great was maybe the most famous human being who ever lived up to the internet age,” Cartledge said. “Not only Caesar and Augustus were inspired by his tremendous conquests record, but so were Mark Antony, Napoleon, Hitler, and countless Western would-be world conquerors.”

The four most important victories of Alexander the Great:

  • The Battle of the Granicus
  • The Battle of Issus
  • The Battle of Gaugamela
  • The Battle of the Persian Gate
A Hellenistic marble bust of Alexander the Great dating from the 2nd century B.C. (Image: The British Museum)

Quick facts about Alexander the Great 

Alexander III of Macedon is often recognized as one of history’s most accomplished and well-known military leaders. He ascended to the throne of Macedon at the age of 20. He formed one of the largest uninterrupted empires before his death in 323 B.C.

Let’s read some quick facts about him.

His father was Philip II of Macedon

Athens and Thebes were defeated at the Battle of Chaeronea by Philip II of Macedon. He wished to establish the League of Corinth, a union of Greek states, with himself as chosen hegemon (leader).

Military changes instituted by Philip II were critical to Alexander’s triumph

Philip rebuilt the Macedonian army into the most lethal force of the period, perfecting his infantry phalanx, cavalry, siege equipment, and logistical system. As a result, Alexander received the best army of the period due to Philip’s reforms.

He was a student of Aristotle

One of history’s greatest influential intellectuals educated Alexander. Philip II hired Aristotle on the condition that he reconstruct his previously devastated house, Stagira.

His army landed in India in 327 B.C.

Not satisfied with conquering Persia, Alexander sought to dominate the world, which was commonly considered to be surrounded by the same ocean that ringed India. So he crossed the Hindu Kush into ancient India in 327 B.C. It would be the most lethal duel of his career.

At the Battle of Hydaspes, his men rebelled

Alexander’s troops fought against King Porus of the Kauravas in 326 B.C. Alexander triumphed once more, but the war was costly. He tried to cross the Hyphasis (Beas) River with his men, but they refused and requested to be returned. Alexander concurred.

He was a fortunate soul

Alexander was a man of courage. Because he commanded his men from the front, Alexander faced death countless times during his military missions. 

Cleitus the Black, for example, spared Alexander’s life at the Granicus River by chopping off a Persian’s arm before delivering a fatal scimitar strike to Alexander.

Follow us on TwitterFacebook, or Pinterest

Recommended Stories

Doomed star in the Milky Way.

Doomed Star in Milky Way Threatens Rare Gamma-Ray Burst

University of Sydney astronomers, working with international colleagues, have found a star system like none ...

Hong Kong demonstrators holding a large banner.

The Most Memorable Moments Amid Hong Kong Protests (Part 2)

As Hong Kong’s anti-extradition demonstrations persist, more unforgettable moments continue to emerge. We shared the ...

China Cables.

Leaked Chinese Prison Camp Documents Show How Uyghurs Are Brainwashed

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) recently published a series of leaked Chinese documents ...

Strawberries with mold growing on them.

Safe Consumption of Moldy Food: Separating Myths From Facts

Have you ever questioned the age-old advice to chuck out any food with even a ...

A man arriving late to a meeting.

9 Work Habits to Be Successful

A person’s success happens for a reason. If you want to be successful in the ...

Young woman with a sad expression as she looks at the screen of her phone.

How to Let Go of Regrets and Embrace a Happier Life

You’ve all been there — you did something horrible you regret doing or let go ...

GOES-18 image of Hunga Tonga Volcano. (Image: NOAA)

The Tonga Volcano Eruption Caused a ‘Superbubble’ in Earth’s Ionosphere, Disrupting Satellite Navigation

With technology increasingly embedded in our everyday lives, it is becoming more important to understand ...

AI imitating the 'Creation of Adam.'

AI and Art: Deciphering Copyright Ownership of AI-Generated Images

With artificial intelligence (AI) carving its niche in every sphere of life, including arts and ...

Boy's bedroom with stylish furniture.

7 Ways to Encourage Children to Clean Their Rooms

Many parents, particularly mothers, can relate to the exasperating sight of their children’s disorganized rooms, ...

Send this to a friend